Journeywoman gets a police escort in Ghana...


Monday September 19, 2011
There is a first time for everything. So far on this Semester At Sea Voyage I've experienced two firsts in Ghana. Number One was my meeting with an African Chief and his three Queen Mother Advisors (watch for a blog about that soon). Number Two was receiving a police escort back to our ship. A real, honest-to-goodness police escort!

This is how the police event unfolded. At each port Semester At Sea organizes tours to places of interest and importance in the area. Each tour is designed to add practical knowledge to what students are learning in the classroom. I chose to do the tour entitled, 'Castles and Slave Dungeons,' that visited the infamous slave dungeons where Black Africans were kept before being shipped abroad as slaves. It's a gut wrenching experience and all of us on the tour (4 buses in tandem) were hot, tired and emotionally spent when, at 5:00 PM, we boarded the vehicles for a three hour trip back to the ship.

Little did we know that the traffic we'd encounter on the two lane highway home would become bumper to bumper gridlock. We literally inched our way from village to village and finally parked by the side of the road to wait until traffic cleared. At this rate we knew we wouldn't get back on the ship for hours.

But behind the scenes plans were being made to alter this mega-traffic situation. Our tour guide radioed ahead to his office and two traffic policemen on motorcycles were dispatched immediately. With sirens screaming and red lights flashing they arrived to lead our buses through the traffic snarl.

Oh my goodness! I now know how President Obama feels. These two Ghanain cops rode down the highway ahead of us, weaving in and out between the cars and simply parted traffic for us. When we approached a snarled roundabout, our knights in shining armor got off their bikes and expertly directed traffic so that our buses could get through. Their job was completed so efficiently that we were actually back onboard by 8:00 PM.

Now that we're back on the ship, I'm really of two minds about what happened. On the one hand I was concerned about the special treatment we, tourists, received (even though it was not something any one of us had asked for). On the other hand, I have to admit we all found the police escort very exciting and we definitely were guilty of cheering our motorcycle heroes on during the process.

So perhaps there's no right answer. For now I'm going to say it was simply a gift given to us as guests of Ghana and, as such, it's a lovely gift we won't soon forget.

P.S. I was standing outside the ship today when one of those policemen rode up on his motorcycle. I thanked him for the wonderful way he got us home and asked if I could take his photo for my Facebook page.

It's amazing how international Facebook is. He agreed immediately and now I have a Ghanain cop who has promised to 'LIKE" my Journeywoman page and be my 'FRIEND". In return I promised to add this blog post so he can see it online. That's the least I can do for someone who made me feel like President Obama.

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